How to Be a Successful Christian Blogger Click To Tweet
A few years ago I started my blog without much thought. But over the last several years, I’ve taken time to learn, educate, and cultivate something more than just words on a screen but an intentional space for a bigger purpose!
The more of an impact that I’ve seen my own blog have, and as I’ve watched God slowly expand my reach with every small, obedient step, I’ve become passionate about helping other bloggers share their message with the world. The internet is becoming such a unique but effective way to reach people RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE with the message of hope, healing, and redemption.
As much as I’d love to share the the Gospel and Godly wisdom with hundreds of thousands of women face to face each day, I don’t have the capacity to physically do that. The amazing thing about blogging is that it gives me a way to do that–to reach so many girls with the words God gives me to share as well as point them to His Truth on a daily basis in a way that I couldn’t even dream of doing in person.
It allows me to reach women walking in darkness and plagued by brokenness, right in the palm of their hands as they scroll on social media…it allows me to speak life into a generally dark space, while also being able to pour into my tiny corner of the universe–my home, my community, the girls I mentor locally, and more.
The internet can be a tough place but it also opens so many doors of opportunity to stepping into your God-given purpose in a way that was never possible before. I will say, though, don’t stop there. And be willing to get out from behind the screen.
If you think you can just be a blogger and sit behind a screen forever, think again.
You’ve got to be willing to be present in your neighborhood, still go where you are called, and get out of your comfort zone.
Last year, God literally pulled me out from behind the screen and called me to start speaking on college campuses, which I often refer to as, “Satan’s Playground.”
It’s not easy to walk into a place like that and talk to hundreds of girls about Jesus. But it IS rewarding and it IS purposeful.
I got to meet hundreds of my readers, hear their stories, and learn even more about who they are, what they’re working through, and how I can write even better content for them.
And it’s all because I said yes to blogging, yes to taking time to learn how to do it well and right, even when I totally didn’t understand what a blog was.
So, my first piece of advice is: don’t be afraid to say yes.
My second piece of advice is to take it seriously if you’re really going to do it. If you feel called to it, don’t be lazy about it or try to find all the shortcuts. Take time to learn, curate, evolve, and give it your best.
And the rest of my advice is below:
Determine your why:
My first year of blogging I literally just posted my thoughts…what was on my heart, what I did that day, etc. I’m not saying that’s bad but it sure isn’t very purposeful or intentional. My blog just existed but it had little to no direction.
In order to succeed in anything, you HAVE to determine your why. What is it seeking to accomplish? What value is it offering/adding to someone’s life?
Determine your WHY — if you don’t know it, it won’t be clear to your readers, and they won’t have anything to grab onto or a clear idea of what to tell their friends what you’re all about so they probably just wont tell their friends or come back to your site.
Know your purpose for anything you set out to do. It helps keep you focused. If God is King then a clear purpose is queen because it will also help keep you focused when you begin obsessing over numbers or growth.
Your idea of success is going to have to look a little different from the world. That doesn’t mean you should feel bad if you have a lot of readers or grow your reach, nor does it mean you can’t make any kind of income of your blog.
Please don’t immediately feel bad about those things — they are good things, fruits of your labor! Plus, you can’t reach others unless you are intentional about doing so and making the most of the social media channels you have.
BUT they can become a problem if they are the currency by which you measure your success. Of course readers are necessary for a blog to function, and if you ever wish to do something like this full time, you’re going to have to put some food on the table.
However, decide what you’re going to measure your success on FIRST, before your blog ever blows up or makes a dollar, so that you can consistently walk in Kingdom success.
It’s about consistently checking your heart.
As a Christian blogger, you want to be sure that your focus is on using your blog as a vessel not as a stage. It can be a tough line to walk, I’ll be the first to tell you that. But that doesn’t mean run away from it, it means be wise about it.
Seek first the kingdom. He’ll take care of the rest (Matthew 6:33).Seek first the kingdom. He'll take care of the rest (Matthew 6:33). Click To Tweet
Should Christian bloggers make money?
There’s a lot of tension that can surround this kind of thing. For example, there’s an ongoing debate about whether or not Christian bloggers should make money from their blog. Here’s my thought:
It takes hours and hours to not only write a blog post but also do all the additional work that’s required before ever hitting publish…creating graphics, linking helpful resources, researching, learning, brainstorming titles, scheduling, and more.
But it also comes with a level of responsibility and intentionality.
I tend to think of it like this: If a missionary needs to raise funds by asking family and friends for donations to go overseas and share the Word with people there, it’s perfectly sensible to need to raise funds to dedicate yourself to sharing Truth via a blog if it’s something you’re going to do full time.
The difference is the FORM of fundraising. But I personally feel much better about giving people something of value, that they can use and that helps them in exchange for $$ versus just asking for a donation.
Don’t twist my words, now. It’s not a bad thing to fundraise for a mission trip or for ministry work. We support tons of our friends who are full time missionaries and I totally believe in it.
My point is this: basic economics will tell you that there is no such thing as a free lunch, period (remember that from high school economics class? 😉Should Christian bloggers make money? Click To Tweet
Nothing is free. Even non-profits have to function like a business and raise funds in one way or another to exist. And it’s not free to run a blog. Not only are there expenses associated when you do it right, such as monthly hosting fees and $$ for all the systems you need to run (email systems, scheduling, paying assistants, etc.). You’d be shocked if I told you how much it costs each month to keep this website up and runnin’.
Not only that, it creates a huge expense of your time — time you could be spending earning a pay check at a job. So, even if the start up costs aren’t huge upfront monetary costs, there are costs involved in anything you do. There’s a tradeoff to doing it and a lot of time is required if you want to do it well.
So, it’s not the making money part that’s the problem it’s when making money becomes what you live for that it becomes a problem.
Again, it’s a heart issue. Can you be open handed and generous with the money you make? How can you put it toward furthering His Kingdom? How can you help your family with the funds He blesses you with?
Set boundaries, have accountability, and don’t be attached to the money you can make through it.
Don’t be afraid of compensation but don’t serve the paycheck, serve the Provider.Don't be afraid of compensation but don't serve the paycheck, serve the Provider. Click To Tweet
Remember this: The money is the fruit, the benefit, the extra of your work. It can’t be the purpose of your work or your work is going to be just as unfulfilling as any other dead end job. Your purpose as to be God’s work.
When those get mixed up (don’t be surprised if they do) unplug and realign your heart with WHY you’re doing what you’re doing and WHO you’re ultimately serving.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24
Don’t be afraid to learn and invest in making your blog better
I’ve invested hundreds of dollars in courses that have taught me how to do a variety of things to help my blog and business, improve my writing, understand how traffic works, email systems, and more. Taking time to learn is what brings value to your blog and also allows you to then help others learn.
Investing IN your blog as well as training yourself how to do it effectively and efficiently allows you to really create an intentional blog that’s reaching the right people in the right way instead of just floundering around and trying to figure it out.
Remember: God is a God of order, not of chaos. If we are made in His image and want to honor Him in our work, (even if you don’t always blog specifically about faith but still wish to honor Him in your work) we need to take care to be intentional and humble enough to learn.
Aimlessly taking a random shot in the dark and hoping something will stick is kind of the fearful, easy way and it rarely works.
Just like you wouldn’t start a new job or try to do international ministry without proper training, you shouldn’t just guess when it comes to blogging. Intentionality IS Godly and sometimes that means investing time and energy into learning from others who have gone before you so that you can focus on doing what matters most.Intentionality IS Godly and sometimes that means investing time & energy into learning from others who know best that you can focus on doing what matters most Click To Tweet
Set a clear focus for your blog:
What is your narrowed niche?
Even as a Christian blogger, you have to pick a focus. A lot of people think that Christian Blog is a niche but it’s really not. If it’s a blog written by a Christian, that’s still pretty broad. There are numerous topics within that niche that you could talk about and focus on, instead of just EVERYTHING.
For example, my niche is not just “Christian blog.”
My narrowed niche is: Modern Christian Living for the Millennial Woman
Anything I write on should be specifically relevant to millennial women, the questions they are asking and the problems they are facing and offer intentional Biblical advice and guidance to living better, answering those questions, and dealing with said issues.
It ought to use modern day language, examples, etc. to communicate an idea and create an atmosphere that’s relatable and conversational for my reader.
Take the pressure off of yourself to keep up. You have to realize that you don’t have to do everything, just a few things well and use the voice God has given you to really cultivate and focus on those few things.You don't have to do everything, just a few things well. Focus on those few things. Click To Tweet
Start a blog on SquareSpace or WordPress + Populate it before launching it
Click here to start a blog on SquareSpace, then follow the step by step instructions to get started. SquareSpace is one of many platforms but the one I recommend getting started on. It’s user-friendly, sleek and clean, as well as affordable.
- Register your domain
- Customize your settings, colors, create images
- Use a mood board to get started and create some consistency
- Get blog elements, graphics, etc. from CreativeMarket
- Make a blog graphic template (735×1200 is best and GREAT for Pinterest)
- Publish 5-7 posts
- I suggest SquareSpace to get started because it’s incredibly user friendly and all the back end technology stuff is already taken care of
Don’t launch a blog until you have a solid amount of valuable content up–don’t send people to an empty website.
1. Related posts at bottom of every post – upcycle old content!
2. Subscribe boxes at bottom of each post
3. An opt-in or FREE valuable content upgrade available at the end of your most popular posts
Set a clear audience
What categories are most relevant/interesting to the audience your blog?
What problems are they facing most?
What keywords describe them and do they use? Start taking note of these and include them in your website, posts, etc.
If you don’t understand your audience, you can’t write what they’re most interested in and you’re going to have very slow progress.
Understand your brand
Who are YOU and how can you infuse YOU into your blog?
What vibe and experience do you hope to create for your reader?
Choose keywords to help you decide this. This includes both intangible/non-visual element she and tangible/visual elements which should communicate your intangibles.
For example, the key words that describe the intangibles for my brand include: real, relatable, friendly, and inviting.
The keywords that describe the tangibles for my brand include: cozy, colorful, bright, and warm (to communicate the intangibles).
Just do something different.
There are a zillion Christian blogs out there that probably share very similar lessons and content to what I share.
But I personally wanted to do something that was different from what people are used to seeing when it comes to Christian content online. I wanted to create a space for the young, not-so-traditional/cookie cutter church girl to feel welcome but also hear unchanging Truth in a way that she can understand.
Since I don’t totally fit the mold when it comes to my style, I shouldn’t totally fit the mold in my writing either. That doesn’t mean bend truth. That doesn’t mean don’t share Scripture or water down God’s Word. It means I CELEBRATE IT in the unique voice God gave me. And so can you.
Because believe it or not, I’d rather go on a wild adventure than sit in Barnes and Noble (I mean, that’s just me) and so I believe that that same adventurous, life giving spirit needs to be infused into my brand and blog.
Focus on giving your reader an experience with valuable content instead of just another article.
Create great content by setting an objective for your posts:
- Come alongside your reader
- Give her a clear takeaway
- Focus on your titles
Ask: What is the post going to accomplish, pivot your writing around that, and make it clear what your reader will gain from the get-go. What value will reader gain from this post or how will her life be better because of this specific post? How does your title communicate this?
Have a healthy relationship with numbers:
Numbers are necessary to function but remember that there are are souls behind numbers.
It’s better for your blog if you have a smaller engaged audience that’s absolutely in love with what you do than just a big number that’s not super engaged or into what you’re doing. That smaller tribe will double and triple in size if they feel like you add value to their life
Gone are the days where big social media numbers are king — it’s about engagement and loyalty now. And you build loyal readers by having a relationship/friendship with people NOT followers/numbers.
Create High Quality Visual Content
It’s not fake. It’s necessary. Don’t be self absorbed but be intentional. If you use cheap, non-engaging images and visuals. If people aren’t drawn in by your photos, they won’t use your words.
I’ve heard story after story from readers who say something like, “I saw one of your photos on the Instagram discover page and because of the photo, I was so drawn in that I started stalking your account. I didn’t even believe in God but I started reading your stuff and I’ve been praying again and pursuing Him again! I want to grow in my faith just because I happened to see a photo of yours! Thank you!”
WHAAA?! It’s crazy. It’s crazy how putting a little creative energy into creating intentionally engaging images can draw in the girl who would never dare to read your stuff otherwise…and then casually change her life.
Don’t overlook the importance of this.
Don’t Act Like a Blogger
Be a person. People follow people, not blogs. Be a pointer. Remember, that your ultimate job is to point people to Jesus. True success doesn’t lie in followers or traffic but in how well you are obedient and humble.
Work hard, hustle, but above all, point. Because you are not the point. You are the pointer to He who is the point. Let your life shine through whatever you do–whether it’s online or in an office.Let your life shine through whatever you do--whether it's online or in an office. Click To Tweet
You have to realize that people communicate in stories and they will remember what you have to say more if you introduce your idea or explain your lesson in stories.
Think about it: Jesus would have been an amazing blogger, He spoke in parables! His message stuck–they were memorable–and He broke down complex concepts into things that people could really understand!
Focus on delivering high quality content, keeping your focus on what matters most, and don’t be afraid to finding tools and resources as well as learning more about creating a more effective and efficient blog.
If you plant it in good soil, nurture and care for it, and stay true to yourself and God, it will flourish.
How to Grow When You Start with ZERO Readers
Okay, great, let’s say you did all that.
Let’s say you’ve got a clear objective, you know who your reader is, you’ve got awesome content populating your blog, and you’re focused on what matters most.
You’ve got seriously nobody checking out your stuff. You don’t want to annoy all your Facebook friends… your insta-game stinks…and you’re not sure where to start.
How can you find those awesome readers that you know would just love your stuff…if they knew it existed?
I get it. You don’t want to obsess over the numbers but you need to get started somewhere to justify keeping going.
Toootallly get that feeling. It’s discouraging.
But please don’t set up camp there and call it quits. I mean, the truth is that blogging just isn’t for some people. It’s way more than just a trendy internet page and fun captions on social media. I put in 10-12 hour days unless I set a timer…if that tells you anything about how much goes into it.
So, maybe you have to be honest with yourself and come to terms with it if you don’t have the patience or drive it takes. And that is okay.
BUT if you really believe you’re supposed to do this, don’t let discouragement take root in your heart just because you’re a little lost.
There actually IS a strategic, awesome, and effective way your get your ideal readers to rush to your blog: learning how to PROPERLY use Pinterest.
It takes a bit of learning but I want to show you how to get started so you can really get your message out there! Here’s the cool thing: you don’t need tons of followers on Pinterest to get amazing traffic to your site. You just need to know what you’re doing.
For example, Pinterest is my smallest platform in terms of following BUT by learning everything that I’m going to teach you, it gets over 1 MILLION monthly views and has become my #1 source of traffic, even though I have hundreds of thousands of “followers” on my other social platforms.
Want to hear something crazy? My views, traffic, everything grew by over 200% just over the last three weeks! How did that happen? By properly using Pinterest as my #1 way to share my writing.
I love using Pinterest because it helps me share the content and message I’m passionate about without obsessing over the numbers or how many “followers” I have.
I seriously wish I would have known this three years ago when I started blogging because it has seriously changed the game for me when I really focused on it.
So, the key to being a successful Christian blogger is not having the most inspiring words on the planet or hustling to become social media famous, nor is it just hiding away from the world and praying God will deliver the perfect readers to your doorstep.
It’s a careful combination of investing diligence and intentionality (and prayer + Pinterest, of course).
And the good news is you don’t have to have a huge following or tons of readers on social media to get your blog off the ground. You just need clear, helpful resources to make it happen.
If you’d like to learn in more detail how to be a successful Christian blogger, check out my blogging courses here!
If you’re just starting out and want to try out Pinterest, I suggest starting with my free Pinterest guide. It’ll help you get started on the right track when it comes to using Pinterest for your blog. And stay tuned, I’ve got a step by step Pinterest e-course coming that will show you step by step how to totally change your blogging game with intentionality.
For now, click the photo to download the free guide! 😉